Cultural, Congregational, and Convictional Christians: Faith or Politics? By @NowWithNicole

Cultural, Congregational, and Convictional Christians- your faith or your vote?

Vote or Die?

In Rabwah, Pakistan, those who associate with the Ahmedi faith must choose between their beliefs and voting in political elections. While they technically have the right to vote, if they check the box identifying themselves as Muslim, they are required to provide a written statement clarifying that they are not Ahmedi. 2013 marked the eighth election in which Ahmedis refused to vote.

In America, we do not face these types of challenges to our faith. The U.S. Constitution protects us from such religious discrimination. We, therefore, are not forced to decide whether we remain true to our beliefs or die to our spirit so that we may cast a vote in our country’s political system. If, however, you were forced to choose between your faith and your vote, what would you do?

The Scripture tells us to choose this day whom we will serve. It also tells us that anything that is not done in faith is sin. If it is a sin to you, it is sin. Are you sinning by violating your Christian liberty and convictions in order to vote for someone whose beliefs are in direct contradiction with your stated faith? While it is 100% accurate that some of us had ancestors who died in order to give us this fundamental right, they did not merely die for us to have the right to vote, they died so that we would have the right to intelligently vote. Are you truly exercising this right to intelligently vote? Is your faith apart of the equation?

To learn more about the Ahmedis’ situation, please read Beenish Ahmed’s, “Your Faith or Your Vote.”  You may find the aforementioned Scripture references at Romans 14:23, James 4:17, Joshua 24:15, Matthew 16:24, and Luke 16:13. Wherever you are led, if it is to a place that violates your values, you have reached the wrong destination.

A part of many of our brothers and sisters not being able to fall on the side of faith when it comes time to vote, has to do with the differences among Cultural, Congregational, and Convictional Christians. In the October 2013 article, “The State of the Church in America: Hint: It’s Not Dying,” author Ed Stetzer uses these categories to discuss why Christianity is not dying.

Cultural, Congregational, and Convictional Christians

Cultural Christians

These are persons who believe themselves to be Christians simply because their culture tells them they are. They tend to bb “Christian by heritage” having grown-up in a religious family. They are not actively practicing their faith.

Congregational Christians 

They are similar to the first group, except they have some type of connection with a local church congregation.

Convictional Christians

These are Christians who are actually making a concerted effort to live by their faith.

While I do not agree with some of what is written in the article about why the church is not dying, these definitions are quite useful in observing part of the problem with Christianity when it comes to making social decisions that may oppose your faith. When forced to choose between your faith and a social agenda, what type of Christian are you? You cannot serve both God and mammon. Have you chosen today which master you will serve?

To connect with me further during this election season on topics of faith and politics, please follow my series, “My Unedited Thoughts on the 2016 Presidential Candidates” and follow me on Twitter at @NowWithNicole

photo credit: Contending for the Faith via photopin (license)

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